Simple smiles

Simplicity.  This word has been a resounding theme for me.  The simple, everyday moments are what help me survive.  I’ve decided that stress and anxiety have no place in my world.  It helps nothing.  Now please, don’t get me wrong.  I’m only human and sometimes these emotions find there way in.  To be really honest, stress I’ve experienced in the past mixed with the reality and everyday balance of Livia’s diagnosis has showed me where my priorities should be.  Choosing simplicity has balanced my perspective.
Livia’s health has been pretty stable.  She’s quiet these days.  She really likes to relax and observe her surroundings.  She doesn’t really even vocalize too much anymore.  I measure good days in the width of her smiles.  I can tell when she isn’t herself when she remains somber and sleepy.  Her giggle is still and will always remain my medicine.  The simplicity of a smile, of a laugh, it’s what we look for and expect from her.  That’s it.  When I sit with her and she stares into my eyes, and then she smiles, I know she’s there.  I get this sense of deep peace when this happens.
I love this time of year.  I love Christmas decorations, music, gifts, baking, all of it.  My birthday is on the 18th, so that’s another reason I get excited for the season.  I love that Finley is at the age where she can retain songs.  She heard “Angels we have heard on high” for the first time the other day.  It was in a children’s movie where they over exaggerated the “Glor oh oh oh oh ria” part.  She loved it so much and just laughed and laughed about it.  She sang it over and over again.  This simple moment made me cry happy tears.  One, she can sing.  Two, she has a sense of humor.  Three, we communicated back and forth about it which lead into the real reason for the season talk.  She was so excited about “baby” Jesus.  For those of you who don’t know Finley personally, I’m here to tell you that she is a little Evangelist.  That’s an entire blog itself, so I’ll just keep going!  I also love the family gatherings.  When I was a kid, I looked so forward to going to different houses to celebrate.  Probably because it meant getting more presents, but to me now, the excitement comes from seeing people I may only get to see once a year.  When we first got Livia’s diagnosis, and she got a little older and more active, I was very nervous and to be quite frank, stressed, about what it was going to be like at other people’s homes.  I felt like I was going to have to follow her everywhere she went so she wouldn’t knock something over and break it.  We still do that, but Jake and I tag team so it’s not so bad.  We both have the mindset, and I think compete a little over who gets to “follow her around.”  We both just want those moments with her.  I used to get upset when we went places and I was constantly following Liv around and no one would step in to give me a break.  It was very selfish of me, and I never just asked.  I thought to myself, why doesn’t anyone see what we are going through?  Now, all I want is for my family to just get moments with her.  To share in the simplicity of just knowing her.  Knowing us.  Honestly, I could care less about a present.  I could care less about how well a house is decorated.  My cares and desires for this holiday season, and for every season, is the simplicity of family.  My heart bleeds for those that I love.  My prayers lately have revolved around family.  To keep the threads tightly knitted with whom I love.  We all know how short and precious life is.  One of my past blogs was about the perspective of ourselves on our death beds, looking back on our lives.  What will we say to ourselves in that moment?  Will we be at peace with the choices we made throughout our lifetime?  I pray we all find the simplicity and true meaning of everyday.  God created us for relationships.  I want mine to be fully alive and simply measured like the width of a smile.